American Assets Trust (NYSE: AAT) and Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) are both financials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, valuation, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and dividends.

Risk and Volatility

American Assets Trust has a beta of 0.52, suggesting that its stock price is 48% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cousins Properties has a beta of 1.24, suggesting that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

98.2% of American Assets Trust shares are held by institutional investors. 34.2% of American Assets Trust shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of Cousins Properties shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

American Assets Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.0%. Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. American Assets Trust pays out 161.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cousins Properties pays out 41.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. American Assets Trust has raised its dividend for 4 consecutive years. American Assets Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Profitability

This table compares American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
American Assets Trust 10.90% 3.97% 1.58%
Cousins Properties 8.68% 1.75% 0.94%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
American Assets Trust 0 2 1 0 2.33
Cousins Properties 0 0 4 0 3.00

American Assets Trust currently has a consensus price target of $43.67, suggesting a potential upside of 20.03%. Cousins Properties has a consensus price target of $10.13, suggesting a potential upside of 11.51%. Given American Assets Trust’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe American Assets Trust is more favorable than Cousins Properties.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
American Assets Trust $295.09 million 5.81 $45.63 million $0.67 54.30
Cousins Properties $259.21 million 14.71 $79.10 million $0.58 15.66

Cousins Properties has lower revenue, but higher earnings than American Assets Trust. Cousins Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than American Assets Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

American Assets Trust beats Cousins Properties on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About American Assets Trust

American Assets Trust, Inc. is a full service, vertically integrated and self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns, operates, acquires and develops retail, office, multifamily and mixed-use properties in Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Hawaii markets. The Company operates in four business segments: retail, office, multifamily and mixed-use. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s portfolio consisted of 11 retail shopping centers; seven office properties; a mixed-use property consisting of a 369-room all-suite hotel and a retail shopping center, and five multifamily properties. Additionally, as of December 31, 2016, the Company owned land at four of its properties that it classified as held for development and construction in progress. The Company’s markets include San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Oregon, Bellevue, Washington and Oahu, Hawaii.

About Cousins Properties

Cousins Properties Incorporated is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. The Company’s segments include Office, Mixed-Use, Other, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix and Other. It develops, acquires, leases, manages and owns primarily Class A office properties and opportunistic mixed-use developments in Sunbelt markets with a focus on Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. It manages a 15.8 million-square-foot trophy office portfolio in the Sun Belt markets of Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa and Tempe. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio of real estate assets consisted of interests in 16.2 million square feet of office space and 786,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The Company, through Cousins TRS Services LLC, owns and manages its own real estate portfolio and performs certain real estate related services for other parties. Its properties include Colorado Tower, 816 Congress, Promenade and Gateway Village.

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